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Protesters storm opera stage

Part-time performers force an opening-night performance of La Traviata in Montpellier to be called off

MORE THAN 100 part-time performers stormed the stage of Montpellier’s Opéra Orchestre National just before a first-night performance of La Traviata in protest at a new unemployment insurance agreement.

To boos and jeers from unhappy audience members, the protesters occupied the Opera-Comedie stage for half an hour. Following a number of speeches explaining why they were disrupting the show, the curtain was lowered - but the demonstrators refused to leave, and forced the show to be cancelled.

The director of Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, Valérie Chevalier, and the mayor of Montpellier, Philippe Saurel, have both previously voiced their support for the actors’ cause.

The performers are asking the government not to approve an agreement on unemployment insurance which, they say, does not form part of a “progressive and ambitious reform”.

The reforms establish a system of "rechargeable rights", but tighten up other regulations for part-time performers. It is due to come into force on July 1.

Performers have been on strike in Montpellier since Tuesday, where they have caused serious disruption to the Printemps des Comedians festival. The opening two shows have already been cancelled and a third, tonight, is under threat.

Photo: Maza

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